Of course back in bible times the mode of transportation was walking; Or riding on an animal if you were wealthy to afford an animal. So a lot of time was spent walking together, and God said that this was a perfect time fore discussing eternal things together. Sometimes I feel like we spend half our day in the car! Make it a point to turn off the radio and spend some time being spiritually focused. Maybe it’s a short drive…Spend it in prayer for safety and reflection on the mornings events; good or bad. Dr. Rienow is a down to earth kind of author and admits to forgetting this occasionally. I’m going to quote what he said about this small tidbit of effective time.
This is the second post; for the beginning part click here. I apologize for the formatting issues, I'm not sure what's going on with my editor tool. As some of you know, I attended The Master’s College. I loved my time there and I really enjoy getting the quarterly publication from the college. I was especially intrigued by the article by Dr. John MacArthur this time. It was an excerpt from his gracetoyou.org 2009 ministry called “The Ties That Bind” It’s basically a layout of 5 foundational truths that every solid church rests on. I know many of you go to a various assortment of churches across our country, so I would like to ask that you first and foremost evaluate yourselves, and then take a look at where you are getting your “Bible Teaching” from. Most likely, it’s your church. After you’ve done some praying and repenting, take a moment to evaluate your church by this standard as I think it’s the best basic outline I’ve seen. I know that most churches have pages in a constitution or a “What we Believe” page on their website, but what do you see acted out in weekly gatherings? Are you an elder, or in ministry at your church? Are you striving to change your church from the inside out? I’m not trying to bring about discontent in your church membership, I just think the biggest impact (good or bad) that a child can see is his parents involvement in their church and it’s overflow into the home. Do you complain about the music? Do you think So-and-so should do this thing or that thing differently? Voicing concern is one thing…It’s the attitude you take in going about making change. How active are you in your church? Is it a “works-based” attitude? Simply another thing on your checklist of life? It’s easy to take it to both extremes and busy yourself relentlessly with ministries, or just throw up your hands and use the excuse of being to busy for another thing. On one hand your child may feel left out or your life, like they have no place in your “ministry” when you’re too busy, or that it’s taking you away from time with them. But it’s also easy to fall into the trap of compartmentalizing your ministry into another thing on the shelf of your Christianity, only to be taken off the shelf every Sunday, or Wednesday, etc and then promptly placed back up there. Especially when we fall into the “Too busy” trap.
“There are certain truths–fundamental doctrines–that every true church is committed to. These doctrines are unalterable; they cannot be compromised in any way. They are non-negotiable. Yield on any one point, and the church ceases to be a church. Here are five foundational truths that distinguish all authentic churches.
A High View of GodIt is essential that a church perceive itself as a body of believers designed for the glory of God. Instead of faithfully proclaiming God's sufficient Word to direct people's minds toward God, church leaders respond to superficial needs with temporary solutions like psychology, self-esteem, entertainment, or a myriad of other diversions.As a result, the church is no longer an organism that emphasizes knowing and glorifying God; it is an organization that tries to help people feel good about themselves. But if you know and glorify God, you don't need to be concerned about your needs because "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" ( Prov. 9:10). When your relationship with God is right, your perspective on your needs will also be right. That doesn't mean we should ignore people's needs–we are to be concerned about people the same way God is. But there must be a balance, and it begins with a high view of God.The Absolute Authority of ScriptureGod reveals Himself primarily through the pages of Scripture; that is why we must uphold it as our absolute authority. Anyone who faithfully and correctly proclaims the Word of God will speak with authority. It is not our own authority. Insofar as our teaching accurately reflects the truth of Scripture, it has the full weight of God's own authority behind it. That is a staggering thought, but it is precisely how 1 Peter 4:11 instructs us to handle biblical truth: "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God." If the Bible is true, then it is also authoritative. As divinely revealed truth, it carries the full weight of God's own authority. If you claim to believe the Bible at all, you ultimately must bow to its authority. That means making it the final arbiter of truth–the rule by which every other opinion is evaluated. If you have a high view of God and are committed to Him, you will obey His Word. The content of God's Word is sound doctrine. Countless Christians today are vague about doctrine. We need truths that we can hold on to–truths about God, life and death, heaven and hell, man and sin, redemption through Christ, the ministry of the Holy Spirit and angels, the believer's position in Christ, and Satan and his realm. You need to be able to read a biblical text, discover what it says, and draw out divine principles. God's people need solid doctrine to build their lives on. We must draw lines when it comes to personal holiness and be careful what we expose ourselves and our children to. We dare not lower our standards to those of the world. Christians are called to live a pure life, and we can't compromise that. II Corinthians 7:1 says, "Having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." A church must enforce that standard (see Matt. 18:15-17). That's why we implement church discipline where I pastor. If someone sins, we confront him or her for their own good and the good of the church as a whole. Many Christians aren't as concerned about their personal holiness as they should be. Where are you in terms of holiness and real communion with the living God? Church leaders aren't the only ones who should live holy lives. You can't have a half-hearted commitment to God and expect Him to work through you. A church must understand that Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 1:224:15) and that He mediates His rule in the church through godly elders (1 Thess. 5:13-14Heb. 13:7, 17).
Hebrews 13 says to submit to those over you in the Lord, for they watch your souls. Follow their example. Paul says to "recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake" ( 1 Thess. 5:12-13). While there are variations in the giftedness of spiritual leaders, there is still an equality of spiritual authority among those the Bible calls elders or overseers. Such spiritual leadership is essential to the church of Jesus Christ. That's why the church must be committed to training and obeying godly leaders. There is room for diversity within the Body of Christ. But every true church is united by certain non-negotiables. Make sure you and your church are committed to the ties that bind.” –Dr. John MacArthur
After discussing this writing with a friend, she reminded me that it’s important to place more emphasis on our commitment and discipline to daily being in God's Word. Only by daily reading, memorizing and meditating on God's Word will our hearts be changed. This is the way God had designed for us to be changed and to be the children of God we should be. 2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Cor. 3:5-6, Hebrews 5:14, James 1:22-25, Psalm 119:11. These are just a few scriptures that come to mind. Our daily time in the Word is essential for spiritual growth and to live a life sold out for Jesus. If we neglect the Word we are just spinning our wheels & living in our own strength. Here is where apathy sets in. God tells us in Revelation 3:16 that because we are neither hot nor cold, He would spit us out. The church God was speaking to could easily be us. We are rich, so we claim to need nothing. Those whom God loves, He disciplines. He is standing at the door of your heart, knocking. How much time are you devoting to Him daily? Don’t be a lukewarm Christian. Your children will see it, and so will everyone else. It’s far greater to be a broken person with a poor and contrite heart, humbled before God, and seeking wise council than one who is full of pride thinking that he’s got it all together because life is going his way. I found the following section on a random church’s website and thought it beneficial for reading scripture together in order to effectively teach children. Studying the Bible is a trait that will benefit children their entire lives. Reading scripture is one of the greatest desires we can instill in our children – our own and those in our church.
Reprinted by permission from Quick Relief For Sunday School Teachers. Copyright (c) 1998 by Group Publishing, Inc., 1515 Cascade Avenue, Loveland, CO 80539, 1-800-447-1070.
So in closing, make no mistake; I am not picking on you, your church, or pretending to be any better of a Christian/person. I do not have it all together; I am a work in progress. My children are still very young and I have little experience under my belt in this parenting role that I chose for myself. So join with me to show our young ones the true Christ through our own walks as we stumble and fall and allow Jesus to pick us up, dust us off, and gently push us back down the straight and narrow path that He has marked out for us. Take everything we see and hear and measure it against the words of scripture. Spend time in the Word. Our Children will thank us for it, maybe not now or even in ten or 15 years, but eventually if we truly live for Christ they will see it and respect us for being true to our word and God’s Word.
Part I of II
This post is for all my fellow believers who are also parents. We are one body, meant to glorify Christ, and I have felt lately that along with myself, a few of us, (okay, more than a few) are really doing a slack job of being “on fire” for Christ, especially when it comes to raising our children. This is not meant for those of you who do not follow Christ, but of course you are more than welcome to read it. In fact, please do read it, as I pray it will possibly awaken you to the fact that although Christians have a perfect God, we are far from perfect ourselves, and most of us desire to make Christ known including our closest friends and family. Sometimes we just aren’t bold enough to do so, which is why I’m posting this.
Brothers and sisters, do you want your children to grow up to be godly men and women of Christ? Do you desire to see them following Jesus all the days of their lives? Does eternity with them sound like what you had in mind? I certainly never want to be separated from my children, especially for eternity. So I bet you’ve read every parenting book under the sun, already aligned yourself with a certain parenting method, or even taken a stand against the world by protecting your children from the media. Your kids can walk the walk, and they know who Jesus is right? Do you think you are doing an acceptable job? I know I can improve in many areas, but there is one main area that I need major improvement and was totally convicted of this past weekend after talking with a very good friend and fellow Christian.
How deep is your faith friend? Have you examined yourself lately? Are you too “busy” with parenting, marriage, working, etc that Jesus is only getting your full attention on Sunday, or maybe just leftover time you find here and there? What does the world think of you? Do your co-workers or your “play date mommies”even know you are a believer? Are you being persecuted because you live for Jesus? Are your children mocked or ridiculed because they like to shout it from the rooftops that they are Jesus’ child? We all can be amazed at the words that come out of our children’s mouths…Is it something that Jesus would be proud to hear your child say? Do they look and act different from the children of this world? Jesus said that if he was persecuted, then so would we…Not really feeling persecuted? I ask you then; Why not? Why aren’t you feeling the sting of the world’s hatred for you and your beloved God? There can be a myriad of reasons, but I feel like I know a good place to start…At least for me, it’s my outward behavior. Shall we start there?
Do you ever think or say; “Do as I say, don’t do as I do?” Of course not, as that is such a passé thing to utter, even in jest. But is that philosophy of thinking permeating your behavioral life? We instruct our children to always tell the truth, but then we ask them to lie for us when the phone is for us and we don’t want to take the call…We instruct them the right way to use “kind words” and then yell at our spouse when they don’t get home on time, miss an important event or don’t cook the meal the way we wanted? We talk about Jesus with our children, telling them how much we love Him, but do they ever see us talk with another adult about our love for Jesus? It’s always sports, or activities, or work…A lot of time they hear us complaining about something. (Insert personal conviction here) So we read stories from the bible telling our children about how people had nothing but the clothes on their back, or how the disciples left everything they had to follow Jesus, and yet we work towards earning more and more money every year so we can indulge in that exotic family vacation. Or we strive to have every new electronic possession under the sun. How many TV’s, computers, or square footage of home do you have? I’m not trying to say we should sell all our possessions, I’m trying to point out our sin; namely our sin of hypocrisy, materialism, idolatry, I could keep going down the list… And we wonder why the world mocks Christians? Probably because we are all lumped into a huge category together, the good and the bad…Just a nasty pile of hypocrites. They rarely see us as anything that stands out from the crowd; unless it’s obvious because we are wearing some outdated and/or legalistic form of head covering or skirt. Every once in a while we shine for Jesus, maybe just because things are going our way, and someone happens to ask us why we are so happy, or wonder what we’ve got that they are missing. It’s these moments of truth that I long for every day…That we ALL should long for. Even more so when life is going horrible and we are in the middle of the “biggest trial ever” people around us should see Jesus. It’s just so rare…Our fellow believers see us during these times, because we lean on them, rely on them for physical help like watching our kids, or making us meals, and we are so grateful for our “Christian groupies” where does that leave our lost friend or even the random unbeliever at work? Unable to see Jesus through us.
Our behavior is shameful to our heavenly father. It’s embarrassing at the least. Even if you aren’t frequenting the bars or racking up thousands in debt, non-Christians see our hypocrisy like a tattoo of “stupid” across our forehead. If you are just perfectly happy to attend your weekly bible study, church service, children’s program, I say wake up! You should be content only in Christ, and you should confess your sin of apathy and passive indifference. You should stand out mightily from those around you (unless your in a crowd of believers, then we all should stand out) making it apparent to everyone you meet that you are a follower of Christ. How many times has something “more fun” than growth group come up mid-week and you go to that instead of group? One of your kids is sick, so you both stay home from church Sunday? Why can’t one spouse go and then bring home the sermon for a family devotion time? When you invite an unbeliever into your home, they should feel right away that you care more about their soul than what you fill their glass with! Matthew 6:45b says “For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” What we do and say comes from within us. And every believer knows that “the heart is desperately wicked (and sinful) who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 I find that I complain in front of people only when I truly want advice. Who are you getting advice from? The world? I love the song I hear all the time on Christian radio, I believe it’s the band Mercy Me; “This world had everything and yet nothing that I need.” There is nothing in this world that can satisfy us, help to make us better people or solve our endless list of problems. We need to be cleansed of this world, escaping every day to a place spirit filled and where we can connect with Christ. Only He can solve our problems if we are willing to let Him. Only Christ can help us show our kids how to respond to the problems of this world. Only Christ can save our children, but we also can be the biggest help or the biggest obstacle in doing that. Which will you chose to be?
Consider the following: if the frequency you washed your clothes or took a bath were the same as the frequency you confess your sins, how comfortable would you be? How long might it take before you noticed your really close friends keeping some distance from you? Just because you don’t look dirty doesn’t mean you don’t need a bath or that you don’t need to wash your clothes. What makes you think your soul is any different? Just because you can’t think of anything bad you’ve done doesn’t mean you have no sin. Because Christ has died for our sins and as believers we have trusted and believed this to the point of repentance, we understand our need for confession of sins. Just because you did it once, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen again. (Sin that is) Working out our sanctification through the constant renewing of our hearts takes work. We must constantly be on guard to sin and it’s negative effects in our lives. Does your spouse point out sin in your life? How do you respond? Do your children see this? I know we are all very quick to point out sin in our children…What if they did the same? How would you respond?
Maybe a definition of “sin” would be helpful here. The Greek word for sin “AMARTIA” means “missing the mark.” It is an archery term. If you hit the target dead center you “hit the mark.” If you hit the first ring that was one “amartia”, two rings away was two “amarties”, etc. In this definition sin can be considered the lack of perfection. Since no one is perfect all the time everyone is guilty, so to say, of “amartia.”
Another definition is also helpful to visualize this circumstance. Sin can be defined as active rebellion OR passive indifference toward God. When God says, “Thou shall not…,” you do; when God says, “Thou shall…,” you don’t. That’s active rebellion. Passive indifference is when God says “Thou shall…,” you say, “O.K., when I get time…,” and you may or may not get around to it. We all are born sinful and by that very nature, we must have a redeemer. Christ has become that sacrifice for us on the cross that we may have our imperfections cast as far as the east is from the west. Christ alone is our atonement of sin, and whether you are a felon convicted of a heinous crime, or an old woman who believes her life has simply been “good enough” for heaven, everyone has sinned. Big or small, important or negligible. Christ died for those sins, and we must show our children in every way we can the importance of living for Him by following his commandments.
Our kids know we aren’t perfect. It’s how we strive to change and ask God’s forgiveness that will impact our children. Do they see you pray? Do they see you reading God’s word? If we do actually spend time with the Lord in quiet devotion, it’s usually early in the morning or late at night when the 6 month old, 4 year old, or 12 year old “distractions” are asleep or occupied. But doesn’t that mean they’ll never see you doing this?…This is why a lot of Godly authors push for family devotion time. So father’s can effectively minister to their children, so mom’s can have a reason behind the discipline that seems so punitive at the time…if only to help the child grow later. There is a reason behind it all. Don’t you love it when you have the perfect teaching moment with your child because of some wonderful thing you recently heard your pastor say, or the Christian radio DJ just said? I love those moments, but they are too few and far between to make life a changing impact on our kids.
This section below is basically the ten commandments broken into new testament teachings that can help us to understand how they reach every facet of our daily lives. These are questions that we should ask ourselves regularly so as to understand our sin, confess it, and with the help of the Holy Spirit turn away from it so that we may lead lives that our children will want to model and that are Christ honoring. Our children are going to mimic our behavior as a pattern for their life, so I urge you to give them a good model. Not just every once in a while…daily. I know this list was a huge “ouch” to my spirit when I read through all the things I am guilty of. But I want to change, and I need Jesus to get me out of my comfort zone of American culture. Read it and meditate on the things you need to ask God to help you change. Confess your sins to him. Copy and paste this list into a word document and highlight the things you know you struggle with, that you need to repent of.
“THE TEN COMMANDMENTS BROKEN DOWN
FIRST COMMANDMENT: ‘I am the Lord thy God: Thou shall have no other Gods before me.’ – Have I loved God as much as I should? – Have I been more interested in my own will rather than God’s? – Have I failed to pray sincerely and regularly? – Have I failed to trust in God and His mercy? – Have I complained against God in adversity? – Have I been thankful for God's blessings? – Have I tried to serve God and keep His Commandments? – Have I given way to superstition? – Have I been afraid of man’s judgment instead of God’s? Am I afraid to be persecuted? SECOND COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image.’ – Have I put another person or object before God in my life? – Have I been insincere about my faith? – Have I made an idol of any person or thing? – Have I given to anyone or anything the worship that is due to God alone? – Have I set before myself the life of Jesus and tried to imitate Him? – Have I read the Bible regularly? – Have I neglected communion or been lazy to prepare my heart before the Lord? THIRD COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.’ – Have I broken any solemn promises? – Have I profaned the name of God in any way? – Have I cursed anyone or anything, or lied? – Have I had due respect for the leadership and elders of the Church or disrespected them by spreading gossip, lies or slander? – Have I entered into any unlawful contract or made an unlawful promise? FOURTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.’ – Have I stayed away from Church on Sundays or prevented others from going? – If I could not go to Church because of illness or other grave cause, have I prayed or been in the word at home? – Have I caused anyone else to profane the Lord's Day? - Have I honored my church by not spreading discourse regarding the doctrines and teachings or even the teaching methods? FIFTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Honor thy father and thy mother.’ – Have I argued disrespectfully with my parents? – Have I respected my parents and been obedient to them? – Have I been guilty of deception, or caused them pain by my words or actions? – Have I neglected them or failed to help them? – Have I done my duty towards my family? – Have I been wanting in love or kindness towards my mate or harmed my mate in any way? – Have I set my children a good example and tried to bring them up properly? – Have I corrected their faults with patience and not with anger? – Have I over-indulged and spoiled them? – Have I neglected to pray with my children thereby failing in my obligations toward them? – Have I worked for my employers honestly and diligently? – Have I treated fairly all those who have worked for me?
<!–[endif]–> SIXTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not kill.’ – Have I harmed others by ridicule & sarcasm or contempt & stubbornness? – Have I fought with my family and friends? – Have I caused the injury or death of any one, or wished that they or I were dead? – Have I done anything to shorten my own life or that of someone else by injuring health, or through evil and intemperate living? – Have I given way to anger, or harmed others with words or actions? – Have I defamed others who needed help, or failed to stand up for those unjustly treated? – Have I been cruel to anyone or have I mistreated or destroyed any life unnecessarily? – Have I failed to forgive anyone or harbored evil thoughts against them? SEVENTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not commit adultery (or infidelity).’ – Have I given way to impure thoughts, words, or deeds? – Have I committed any unworthy actions alone or with others? – Have I degraded myself in any way, or forgotten human dignity? – Have I read immoral books or magazines, or delighted in obscenity of any kind? – Have I associated with bad companions or frequented unsavory places? – Have I eaten or drunk or smoked too much? – Have I been lazy, idle, or wasted my time? – Have I led others to commit sinful acts? – Have I been unfaithful to any trust confided in me? EIGHTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not steal.’ – Have I ever stolen or wished to do so, or shared in stolen goods? – Have I given to my Church the due offerings from the bounty that God has blessed me with? (tithe) – Have I kept anything that did not belong to me? – Have I tried honestly to find owners of lost articles I have found? – Have I cheated anyone? – Have I paid my debts? – Have I lived within my income, and not wastefully and extravagantly? – Have I given to charitable causes in proportion to my means? – Have I been honest and upright? NINTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not bear false witness.’ – Have I exaggerated or let others take the blame? – Have I told lies, or added or subtracted from the truth? – Have I made careless statements or spoken evil of anyone? – Have I told any secrets entrusted to me, or betrayed anyone? – Have I gossiped about anyone or harmed their reputation? – Have I concealed the truth, assisted in carrying out a lie, or pretended to commit a sin of which I was not guilty? – Have I tried to see the good in others rather than their shortcomings? Have I followed biblical discipline with a brother or sister who is in sin, or have I spread it around as gossip? TENTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not covet.’ – Have I envied anything good that has come to others? – Have I been jealous of another's good fortune? – Have I wished for anything that was another's? – Have I damaged or destroyed the property of others? – Have I wished for things God has not given me, or been discontented with my blessings?? – Have I been stingy? – Have I held back anything due another? – Have I hoped for the downfall of anyone so that I might gain by it? – Have I failed to be gracious and generous to anyone? – Have I expected God to give me that which I would refuse one of my fellow men?” Part II continues tomorrow: Application for Life…
A friend posted this on Facebook, and I couldn't agree with it more.
It's from October 2010 @ Theresurgence.com (http://theresurgence.com/2010/10/22/missional-mothering)
Missional Mothering Young mother, it seems like everyone wants something from you. And you’re probably already giving way more than you ever thought you could give. But even with all your giving, you might struggle with guilt—lingering, joy-drenching, energy-sapping guilt—that you should be doing more, giving more, accomplishing more. Don’t waste that guilt. Pay attention to it. Use it. Take it out of the shadows and examine it in light of Scripture. Is this a godly grief that leads to repentance or a worldly grief that produces death (2 Cor. 7:10)? Is it life-giving or life-depleting? Ask yourself, does this bring fresh joy and peace to those nearest me, or does it add unnecessary stress and strain to my home? Mother: You have a mission field Our first and primary mission field is our children. God values our children. Jesus became indignant when the disciples didn’t embrace the worth of children in God’s expanding kingdom (Mark 10:13-16). God tells us that children are his blessing to us (Ps. 127:3). And he places great importance on our teaching our children to love and serve him (Deut. 6:7-9). Don’t feel guilty over making your children your primary ministry investment in their early years. Your availability, sensitivity, affection, and unhurried attention are irreplaceable. There are no neutral moments in a young child’s life. Someone is going to be influencing your children, inculcating values and imprinting standards on their impressionable young minds. Let it be you! Accept your calling from God to serve your family. As a mother, you are helping to shape the souls of your children for Christ and ultimately influence the world. Your children are your gift to the future. Stay on mission Does this mean you will never invest in others outside your family? Goodness, no. But if you are a young mother, stay on mission. Use your primary ministry of mothering to serve Christ now. Don’t let anything diminish your unique role as a wife and mother. It is not godly guilt that would call you away from a wholehearted investment in your little ones for his sake. “ Don’t feel guilty over making your children your primary ministry investment in their early years. ” This season in your life is just that—a season. And each season is a divine calling from our creator and king. Organizing a new event at church is important. Teaching your little boy to be kind to his sister is also important. But which one can best be done by you during this season? Serve God well by ministering to your children first. Very soon they will be grown and gone, and you will be unable to recapture the teachable moments you have now. Mothers, listen to Psalm 78:4-7: “We will . . . tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders he has done . . . that the next generation might know . . . so that they should set their hope in God.”